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Trauma & EMDR Counseling

What is trauma? Trauma is a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. Peter Levine, the founder of Somatic Experiencing, describes it as experiences that overwhelm the nervous system because they are “too fast, too much, too soon.” We can have experiences that are clearly traumatic to us and we can have experiences that seem like small events that still overwhelm us. When these memories are triggered in the present, they make us feel emotionally overwhelmed and our responses impact our ability to function the way we want to in our relationships, at work, and at home. Source: https://sites.google.com/site/wwwbrianjwhelan/somaticexperiencingmethodoftraumaresolution

How do I know if I have experienced trauma? We have all experienced trauma in our lives. There are times when we successfully navigate traumatic or distressing times and there are times that the experience becomes traumatizing. This can result in common mental health symptoms, like depression, anxiety, poor stress management, overuse of substances, low self-esteem, difficulty concentrating, feeling numb, anger management problems, and much more. 

What is EMDR? Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a treatment approach “that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.  Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference.” Source: http://www.emdr.com/what-is-emdr/

EMDR could be  helpful for you and your partner if:

*You have had a relationship in the past or present that has conflict that escalates quickly, that has been damaged by broken trust around infidelity online or in person, or you have often felt unloved and unwanted in your relationships.

*You feel overwhelmed with anxiety when your partner wants to connect or talk about something difficult, so you shut down and distance to hide yourself and stay out of the potential fight. 

*You have painful or traumatic experiences in your past, such as emotional, physical or sexual abuse or neglect.

*You have had negative sexual experiences or messages that make sex and intimacy a challenge, such as experiences of being pressured for sex to please your partner or shaming messages about sex being dirty or gross.

*You are coping with sexual concerns that feel like they define you, such as performance anxiety, erectile dysfunction, or premature ejaculation.

EMDR helps heal past emotional pain and enables you to believe positive things about yourself. When these wounds are not healed, they will become triggered or activated in the present.

For instance, if you grew up thinking “I’m not good enough,” “I’m not loveable,” or “I don’t matter,” these thoughts and feelings will come up in the present when your partner has let you down. And the feelings will be overwhelming.

If your negative sexual and relationship experiences and messages have made you believe “I’m defective,” “I’m shameful,” or “I can’t trust anyone,” these beliefs will cause you to tense your body and be less present with physical and emotional intimacy. Sex will be something you avoid or it will feel like something you just have to “get through” to make your partner happy, rather than something you both look forward to and enjoy.

If you are having a disagreement with your partner, you may think “I’m a failure,” “I’m inadequate,” or “I have to be perfect.” When this happens, it will increase the likelihood that you can’t hear criticism and will respond defensively, in order not to feel so terrible. 

EMDR will help treat those residually painful experiences in the past, so they don’t have the power in the present.

When we believe that we deserve love, that our needs and wants matter, that sexual and emotional intimacy are good and accessible to us, and that it’s okay to make mistakes, we can create the loving relationships that we crave. 

It is worth it. 

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